COVID-19 Crisis Dashing Hopes Of Odisha Clay Artisans As Festive Season Nears
Cuttack/Berhampur: The unprecedented COVID-19 epidemic and subsequent lockdowns have left the small scale traders, artisans across the state in dismay. With the festive season inching closer and the government saying no to religious gathering, the clay artisans in Cuttack, Ganjam and several other parts of the State are staring at an uncertain future.
The clay artisans, who generally scurry to meet the puja deadlines, are now gazing the sky after failing to receive orders for this puja season. Over hundred idol-makers in Cuttack’s Kumbharasahi are struggling to meet their ends after the district administration decided not to celebrate Ganesh puja in view of rising COVID-19 cases in the city.
With no other options, some artisans have left their traditional occupation and started selling vegetables for their livelihood.
“We have lost our livelihood due to the pandemic. I have borrowed money and invested it in idol making. But with no sign of trade, I fear a huge loss. The government must address our issue,” said Anirudh Behera, an artisan.
“With no work, I have been selling fish, vegetables for my survival. The district administration said no to Ganesh puja celebration. It may also stop Dussehra and Kali puja,” another idol-maker Tapan Behera said.
Clay artisans in virus hotspot Ganjam are also reeling under COVID-19 wave. The Rajasthani artisans in Bhanjanagar, who have been earning their bread and butter by making idols since last 12 years, have requested the government to make food arrangements for them after being battered by the pandemic.
“With no sale of idols, we are struggling for our survival. We are in distress and the government should help us,” said Naresh Kumar, an idol-maker.
A lady artist named Bardhu said, “Since last five months, we are going through very tough times. The government, earlier, used to provide us free food. Now they have discontinued it. Without income, it is becoming difficult to manage food for our family members. So, I request the government to make necessary arrangements for us.”
(Edited By Suryakant Jena)